You’ve got your financial planning in place to carry you through the rest of your earthly days. You’ve got a contract pending on a Jimmy Buffett-endorsed home in that new “Margaritaville”-themed retirement community in Florida. Hell, you’ve already got your cemetery plot picked out and purchased for when the time comes (hopefully many happy, healthy years from now). Clearly, you’ve got this retirement thing on lock — but how many of us ever plan for our retirement from driving?
Related: Seniors Fail to Use Devices That Prolong Driving Years
No one wants to think about handing over their American Freedom Pass, which is to say their car keys. And why would they? Studies show that adults who have stopped driving are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility than those who remain behind the wheel. That said, the dangers of remaining behind the wheel too long are grave: According to AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 200,000 drivers age 65 or older were injured in traffic crashes in 2016, and more than 3,500 were killed; meanwhile, older Americans are outliving their ability to drive safely by seven to 10 years.
The good news is that — not unlike that retirement account you’ve been investing in your entire career — if you invest some time and understandably uncomfortable conversations now about your future driving capabilities, according to AAA, you may actually be able to extend your time in the driver’s seat past what it might’ve otherwise been.